East Timorese communities under threat of attack have highlighted their need for contact with the outside world. Caritas Australia Director Tom Story said members of communities under attack have requested that Australians continue to visit East Timor so that people realise the world has not forgotten them.
    "Caritas and other church workers in East Timor have told us the most difficult thing they are experiencing is the feeling of isolation as militia members attack," he said.
    For this reason, Caritas appeal funds will be used to support a Volunteers for Peace program. Mr Story announced that five members of religious orders will visit East Timor for approximately six weeks. They will use their skills in the Catholic clinics or in other church work but will mainly be present to stand in solidarity with the East Timorese people. It is anticipated that their presence will help provide protection to those whose lives are under threat as violence is less likely to be perpetrated when foreign witnesses are present.
    Last week Caritas Australia launched a special appeal for East Timor in Darwin. Because of the central role of the Catholic Church in East Timor, Caritas Australia is one of the few non-government agencies to develop a comprehensive program of assistance in the territory.

4:24pm 24/5/99 / Caritas


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